The German bishops have announced that Catholic hospitals can provide emergency contraceptives to rape victims, as long as the pills do not stop the implantation of a fertilized egg.
Zanzibar's bishop said priests and other clergy in his diocese are terrified after a priest was murdered outside his parish church in what is seen by many as a terrorist attack.
"We are very afraid," Bishop Augustine Shao said, noting that clergy "were warned of attacks" before and after the Feb. 17 murder of 56-year-old Fr. Evaristus Mushi.
Mushi's car was followed by two men on motorcycles who blocked his way, shot and killed him, Shao said in a telephone interview Thursday from Zanzibar, a group of Indian Ocean islands that is part of Tanzania.
Sarkiss Rshdouni escaped the fighting in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo months ago but cannot shake memories of what he witnessed.
"I was with a friend when I heard gunshots," said Rshdouni, who is among hundreds of thousands of people who have fled the war in his homeland. "It was fast -- second by second, the sound was getting closer. I saw mass shooting, people running."
Aleppo is home to more than 80 percent of Syria's Armenian community, and those who are still there remain at the center of the battle for control of the country.
Viewpoint: The war in Mali is not a result of the perfidy of Islamist extremists or another case of a dysfunctional African state.
Archbishop Charles Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, was chosen to restore trust in Irish leadership after decades of clerical scandals and cover-ups.
Several years ago in Cairo, President Barack Obama spoke to an overflow crowd at Al-Azhar University.
"So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity," he said. "This cycle of suspicion and discord must end."
While the Catholic church and the United Church of Canada aren't about to agree about same-sex marriage (Catholic against, United in favor), the official Roman Catholic Church/United Church of Canada Dialogue has found significant common ground in their theologies, liturgies and pastoral approaches.
Hundreds of thousands of pre-Lenten Carnival-goers diverted their attention from the festivities to pay attention to the news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation.
National television networks halted their coverage of the four-day festival Monday to dedicate most of the morning broadcasts to the news coming from the Vatican and reactions from Brazilians.
Organizers of the World Youth Day 2013, set for July 23-28 in Rio de Janeiro, said plans will continue as scheduled even though the identity of the new pope would not be known for several weeks.
Belgium's Mechelen-Brussels archdiocese has become Europe's latest to plan church closures in the face of declining Catholic participation.
An archdiocesan official told the German Catholic news agency KNA that "dozens of churches" faced closing and that the city's largest Catholic landmark, St. Catherine Church, was expected to be turned into a fruit and vegetable market.
"No religious organization will have to conduct same-sex weddings. It is about fairness," said Culture Secretary Maria Miller.